The Remarkable Napoleon Wrasse

By Richard Aspinall 7 months ago1 Comment

Every once in a while I gather together my images of this impressive fish and share them with you, for the very simplest of reasons.  Just look at it! Is it not an amazing animal?

Napoleon Wrasses are one of the largest bony fish, and the largest wrasse of course, and when I shot these images of this curious specimen charging towards me I was reminded of just how huge they can be.  Fully mature males can reach two meters in length, though in my experience, the fish I meet are in the one to one and a half range, but still, that’s a big fish.

Napoleons (Cheilinus undulatus) are typically hard to approach.  They are extensively hunted and classed as endangered by the IUCN, though in areas where they receive protection and become accustomed to divers, they can be quite friendly, as you can see.  Either that or they expect food, a practice not recommended these days.

This was a botched attempt to alter depth-of-field in Photoshop. Clearly it didn’t work and I can’t find the original.

Like many Labrids they change significantly over their lifespan.  Youngsters are non-descript and camouflaged and resemble juvenile parrotfish in some ways.  I haven’t yet managed to get a decent shot of a real juvenile, though the image above shows a youngish specimen that is starting to grow its characteristic head bump and adopt more of a greenish-blue color.

Advertisement


Typically, Napoleons are seen on reef drop-offs and may well spend time at greater depths hunting for crustaceans and molluscs over sandy substrates. Those powerful jaws make light work of tough prey.

A bit of wide-angle trickery here, makes this fish seem even larger.

Getting close to Napoleons is hard and getting a good image can take dive after dive.

So often, these shots are taken just at the moment the fish turns and speeds away, and without appearing to be particularly fast, they easily outpace divers.

Categories:
  Fish, Photography
About

 Richard Aspinall

  (466 articles)

Richard lives in Scotland where he works as a freelance writer and photographer. Richard writes for several magazines on topics as diverse as scuba diving, travel and wildlife.

One Comment

  • Bill says:

    Still Using the Same Old, Broken Marketing Methods?

    The revolutionary system flips the success switch that can last for an entire lifetime.

    The future of the internet is launching soon!

    Get your Invite

    https://jamesusher.net/opv

    All the best
    James

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.